In the final edition of Tidings for 2019, on behalf of Mr Cooney, I wish to thank the whole St Clare’s College community for their partnership and support throughout the year. The spirit of the community has been very evident in all our major events this year and is highlighted in this edition of Tidings.

Last weekend I invited some of my family around to my house for a BBQ to talk about Christmas Day organisation. Whilst the adults were talking and planning my sons and their cousins were playing hide and seek in the backyard. I watched as they were searching for their ideal hiding place, the frantic running around to hide, the thrill of the count, holding their breath so as not to move when the finder was seeking them out. Always looking for learning in all things I started to think about how this childhood game starts preparing us for life lessons such as the ability to think under pressure, the integrity to not look whilst being the counter, the self-control in remaining silent and still for long periods of time as well as the joy of playing the game.

There are times in my life that I have treated my relationship with God like a game of hide and seek.  There have been times when I have run and tried to hide, held my breath and not spoken to Him and I think more concisely not listened so I don’t have to hear Him asking me to change.  The problem though has always been that as hard as I have tried I have not been able to hide from Him.

God sees and knows all: all our personal secrets, faults, imperfections, but also our successes, achievements, skills and talents. God is always seeking us.

This is one of the reasons why the Church gives us the season of Advent. Over the four weeks leading up to Christmas, we prepare not just for Jesus’ coming as a baby in the manger but also for His Second Coming. The word Advent means ‘to come,’ and the Church, with great wisdom, nudges us with a ‘wake-up call’ to ensure that we are honest with our God and in right relationship with Him before He comes again.

God is seeking you. Are you hiding from Him? If not, good. If so, stop. You have no reason to hide yourself from Him. As hide and seek reminds us, ‘Ready or not, here He comes.’ May you have a blessed Advent as you wait and pray for Him.

Our St Clare graduates were farewelled on Thursday 6 December with a beautiful Thanksgiving Mass, Awards and Prize Giving Ceremony and parent, student and staff formal at Parliament House. They will receive their Year 12 Certificates this week as well as their ATARs. We are confident that the young women of the Class of 2018 have the skills and capabilities to be effective adults, people who can think creatively, imaginatively and flexibly. People who can engage in good relationships in the workplace and in their personal lives. People who can feel a sense of satisfaction with their achievements and who can experience a full range of emotions. They are young women who can solve problems, work in teams, manage complexity and change and they have joyful hope about who they are and how they connect with our community and the world.

The Year 7-11 Thanksgiving Mass and Awards Ceremony was held last Friday. In the Principal’s address I reminded the students that this year they have been challenged to Seek STEM, Seek Enrichment, Seek Sport, Seek Skills, Seek Opportunities, Seek Change, Seek Creativity, Seek Success, Seek Community, Seek Entrepreneurship, Seek Social Justice, Seek the Arts, Seek Fun, Seek Leadership, Seek Faith, Seek Culture and above all Seek Wisdom. All of this seeking has led them to be confident and positive out looking students who are caring, relaxed and sociable, hold high expectations for the future, can work hard and understand that good things take time. We are a spirited learning community who asked St Clare to pray for us every day and we called on the Holy Spirit to be with us every day and we recognized that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. I think they have done magnificently on all accounts.

 While learning concluded for students last Friday at the College, Mr Cooney along with St Clare’s students Emma Chamberlain, Zoe Chamberlain, Laura Cusack, Ashleigh Griffiths-Smith, Mandeep Kaur, Sachi Proctor and Margaret Stuart and other young women from the ACT are participating in an International Study Program.  Our students will be astronauts in training, immersed in space exploration and science in conjunction with NASA at the Houston Association for Space and Science Education Space School in Texas. The learning framework incorporates personal development in areas such as self-motivation and reliance, goal setting, teamwork, curiosity and imagination as they work together on simulated missions to repair the international space station or land an exploration rover on Mars, delve into marine biology and investigate forensics and robotics.… the multi-disciplinary skills necessary to empower our young women to take on the changing technological landscape they will face in their careers and life.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the St Clare’s College staff for creating a school culture and learning environment that is inclusive to learning, safe and collaborative. They have focused on student achievement and pedagogical strategies that have shaped a vision of academic success for all students, based on high standards. We wish the following staff leaving the College all the best for their future endeavours and sincerely thank them for the contribution they have made to St Clare’s College by sharing their unique gifts and talents with the community: Sharyn Quirk, Clare Jacobs, Linda Leer, Catherine Jean-Krista, Rhiannon Richards, Anne Rynne, Kylie Gilbert, Natalie Fairfax, Andrea Maldon-McGuiness, Richelle Fograty, Susie Sheldon-Collins, Abbey Forbes, Joe Igoe-Taylor, Gerard Wynter and Anne Perera.

To our families who are leaving St Clare’s College this year, our prayers and very best wishes go with you. We hope that 2019 is a blessed one for you. To our families returning next year we look forward to welcoming students back in February.

I wish you all a happy, holy and family focused Christmas season.

Natalie Dickie

Acting Principal